20 September 2006

Who put the Con in Confidence?

"This is, while in general efficacious to happiness, the world's law may yet, in some cases, have, to the eye of reason, an unequal operation, just as, in the same imperfect view, some inequalities appear in the opperation of heaven's law; nevertheless, to one who has the right confidence, final benignity is, in every instance, as sure with the one law as with the other." -Melville

While stuffing my benedict hole with the "Milano's Special" at a local pizza parlor, what should come to my imperfect vision but the Trinity Broadcast Network. They have a statue of Jesus on a white horse in front of the neoclassical building that is their headquarters in Texas, if I recall correctly. That will be significant to some, but beside the point of the "Message." An old, white dude on TBN had the following pitch. Jesus one day on his way to Jerusalem stopped at a fig tree, because he was hungry. Seeing that the tree bore no fruit, he cursed it, "you shall never bare fruit again." The tree shriveled up and died. You see, the fig tree is a symbol for us (present company excluded, of course) believers. Elsewhere in the bible, "the branches that do not bear fruit will be gathered and cast into the fire." Clearly, this means "hell," or at least old, white dude said so. TBN bears fruit, ergo, if you donate money to TBN, you will by extension bear fruit and avoid hells eternal fires! To buy this argument requires, well in a word, confidence. Let me here place my vote of "no confidence" and keep my cash, thank you very much.

No Barking
As for other total non sequiturs, arabic does not have the English letter "P" in the alphabet. The closest sound is the "B." Consequently, the "P" and "B" are frequently confused in transliteration. The coolest sign in downtown Amman reads, "No Barking."


Blogger weeping sore said...

Faith, aka confidence, is not the same as gullibility. Back in the day, we used to say to one another "Keep the faith", but it didn't have anything to do with God.

Walt Whitman has a take on confidence men:

Of obedience, faith, adhesiveness;
As I stand aloof and look, there is to me something profoundly
Affecting in large masses of men, following the lead of those
Who do not believe in men.
Walt Whitman, Thought

9:31 PM  
Blogger Miss Carousel said...

isn't the headquarters in newport beach? i think it is--all lit up like vegas. fuckers.

12:23 AM  
Blogger K said...

In the TBN illustration, old, white dude was attempting to convert a presupposed faith in god into a confidence in the message he was delivering - a confidence expressed in a monetary donation. It is structurally the same knavery employed by Melville's confidence man. Putting aside colloquialisms like "keep the faith," it is my opinion that a fine line separates faith, confidence, and gullibility, if there is a distinction at all.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Frances Goodman فرانسيس said...

Melville would agree!

3:46 PM  

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